Francisco Ordóñez Presents: Latin American Spanish and NYC

SEP 20, 2018 | 4:30 PM TO 6:30 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




September 20, 2018: 4:30 PM-6:30 PM





Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC)


This seminar advances comparative research on Spanish dialects in Latin America under the umbrella of Romania Nova, a research group that integrates the study of syntactic variation in the Romance Languages of Latin America with formal linguistic theory. Guest speaker Francisco Ordóñez will provide a case study of how the kind of research works and I will illustrate its impact in the study in New York City where different varieties of Spanish come into contact (Otheguy and Zentella 2012). The specific case examined during the semester is the distribution of object pronouns, called clitics. Those pronouns show quite interesting variability in different dialects in terms of their form and distribution. The differences may seem minor, but they actually have interesting consequences for the grammar of speakers. Furthermore, when speakers of varieties with different systems enter into contact as in New York, the question remains as to how this affects their pronoun patterns and those of their children . Another factor in this case will be whether English has any influence in the output of speakers. He will show how this systematicity needs to be coupled with an understanding of why that variation took place. For instance, it is likely that that variation is contact induced change. In consequence, he will also show how different varieties of Spanish enter in contact in the city and what are the expected and not expected outcomes of variation depending on the morphological forms and also the social dynamics established here.

Francisco Ordóñez was trained in the study of formal linguistics at CUNY. His specialization has been the comparative study of the syntax of Spanish and other Romance languages such as Catalan, Portuguese, French, Italian, Sardinian, Corsican, and Occitan and their various dialects. His present research involves the study of the syntactic differences of the dialects of Spanish spoken in Latin America and Spain as well as studies of syntactic variation in Catalan, Spanish and Italian Dialects. He also co-founded Romania Nova with Mary Kato of Universidade de Campinas (Brazil). This international research collective promotes comparative research on Romance varieties spoken in the Americas. He is working now on how varieties of Spanish come together in US urban settings such New York and the system emerging from contact between those varieties and English.